Leadership is for everyone.
Being a young leader today can be challenging. Yet, conquering your fears and choosing to do the right thing is a strength not many of us have.
For queer people, this journey can be incredibly rocky. Earlier this year, we talked a lot about women in leadership. We learned how hard it is for women to establish themselves and make their voices heard. This month, we want to highlight what the journey can look like while being queer.
We’re highlighting 7 young and queer leaders that didn’t shy away from the challenges. They chose instead to rise against all odds to improve the world we live in.
1. Ala’a Jarban
During the Arab Spring in 2010, Ala’a felt an urge to make the voice of LGBTQIA+ people heard. So he started small, writing blogs, demanding freedom of expression, and he used the same platform to come out.
His words, first written in English, didn’t reach many people and reaction. Once the message was translated into Arabic, his community started to notice. It didn’t take long for Ala’a to find support and resistance. He sought refuge in Canada from his home country Yemen and continues to activate NGOs supporting human rights.
Currently, he undergoes studies in political studies with a precise determination to change into better the livelihoods of many LGBTQIA+ members.
2. Amir Ashour
Amir Ashour has worked for several years with an organization that promotes human rights before founding IraQueer. The native Iraqi wished for a place in his home country where members of the LGBT community can feel safe. IraQueer started by offering resources like Legal Guides and Guides about Security and Sexual Health.
Soon it turned into a human rights organization reaching thousands of members.
Today, Amir is a guest speaker at many human rights events. And his NGO is running awareness and education projects, also offering shelter for members of the community in need.
3. Jacob Thomas
Jacob Thomas, who identifies as non-binary, was awarded the “Queen’s Young Leaders Award” in 2016. The award was given for their work in supporting LGBTQIA+ members.
Jacob works tirelessly with the government of their home country Australia, for improved access to healthcare for the community.
They are also working hard to reduce suicide rates of young people who identify as LGBTQIA+ members. Together with other foundations, Jacob is also working on creating an application that indicates healthcare providers.
4. Donnya Piggott
At the age of 22, Donnya, an outspoken activist from Barbados, founded her organization called BGLAD. It was her response to the need for an open dialogue between the LGBT community and the rest.
Donnya approached the issue from a discriminatory point of view, holding the government accountable. To gain more strength for her mission, she collaborated with several other LGBT support groups across the Caribbean.
Donnya wasn’t only recognized and awarded for her human rights work, and her sustainability efforts, through the company she later established, Pink Coconuts.
5. Eman Borg
From a small island in Malta, Eman Borg is currently the president of a local support group called LGBT+ Gozo. He aims to support everyone willing to come out in his community and beyond.
And Eman doesn’t stop there. He is at the same time officer of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Characteristics within the youth gender quality network of the Commonwealth states.
6. Mina Tolu
Another Maltese on the list, Mina Tolu, is an avid activist for transgender rights. Mina was the co-chair of the International LGBTQIA Youth and Student Organization and later joined Transgender Europe.
Mina is highly active in representing women’s rights and transgender rights, not missing opportunities to talk about the discrimination faced by members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
7. Amandla Stenberg
The actress, known for her role in The Hunger Games, is a devoted activist. She used the power of social media to spread her messages. The messages were criticizing several social injustices, including racial inequality and gender inequality.
Amandla’s actions are a clear example of how everyone can join a movement, even virtually, if they are devoted to a cause.
As an international organization that welcomes all gender identities and sexual orientations, we support leadership development in anyone. This includes members of the LGBTQIA+ community that face extra hardships and discrimination worldwide.
We are happy to see these young leaders creating an impact in society. We’d also like to remind you that you don’t have to be part of this community to show support or take action. As seen above, even sharing a message on social media can go a long way.
How are you supporting the LGBTQIA+ community?